May 11, 2010

EVERYONE HAS A STORY - Nicole Stoddard

I met Nicole over a year ago when she signed up for the Bella Rosa cycling class.  She said she was out of shape and needed a way to feel young and healthy again.  I was excited to have her come.  The morning she showed up I couldn't believe my eyes.  She looked amazing.  She looked young.  Come to find out she has kids in college.  Crap, I hope I look that amazing when my kids head out of the house.  It has been so fun getting to know Nicole.  She is a true adventurer. 

EVERYONE HAS A STORY - Nicole Stoddard
Some of my fondest family memories are on bicycles. In a matter of minutes, me my 3 kids and Dad can be parked at the base of Huckleberry Ridge. The first quarter mile is uphill, just enough to get the blood flowing and warm you up on days in the Spring when snow still clings to north sides of the mountain. All total, there’s are about 6 miles of FUN hilly terrain that any age kid can tackle with a sense of accomplishment. For me, it’s a place to get some exercise and enjoy the quiet.
These hills have been used for grazing cattle but not for a few years – so they are still beautifully manicured from the grazing and have little side trails made by cows. Curtis and I have hiked here some too. One time we were sitting on a log having lunch and could have swore we heard an engine starting up over and over; up here in the sticks – we finally found out it is a bird (don’t remember what kind) that likes to flutter its wings – must be a sage grouse.

If you bike as far west on these old logging and cattle roads can take you on top of Huckleberry ridge, you will eventually come to an opening in the quaky’s and see the Ashton Valley open up below you. What a site. If you ride as far North as the old roads will take you – you can see Robison Creek Road and if you could look beneath you w/o having to venture straight down – you’d see Robison Creek just before it meets Rock Creek.

Even though our kids are grown and left Ashton, I still love this ride. It reliably restores me to myself. There is some old timber; lots of majestic Douglas Fir that gives you the sense you might see a forest fairy flit by as you pass a patch of flowers. Riding here in Fall is my favorite – there are quaking aspen with not just yellow leaves, some are red; very cool. During hunting season I recommend you wear bright clothes – I’ve met people with guns many times. Other than that – I usually get the place to myself and my dog (a riding partner if I can find one), and with the exception of some elk; the only big game I’ve seen here. This place is heaven. I have yet to have found any huckleberry’s to pick – but I’m not giving up on looking.

Take a right off Cave Falls road to Girls Camp and continue on to the Y. Instead of going right to the dead end at Robison Creek – turn left and you’ll come to a Forest Service gate. Park here. I have also parked at the dead end on the right where most locals have taken a romantic walk or two down to Robison Creek. But I turn right where you park and ride on old roads over to Horseshoe Lake road.

Carry water, have bear spray at hand. Cell phone works in some spots.

Nicole Stoddard, Ashton

1 comment:

Jillicious said...

great ideas for rides! i agree, the country on huckleberry ridge is BEAUTIFUL!

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